Taking It All In For Two Years
May 1, 2007
In just two years as a member of the California women's tennis team, senior Zsuzsanna Fodor has shared great memories with her teammates, won big matches and provided endless amounts of leadership. Once these final few weeks of playing for the Golden Bears are done, Fodor will be missed by her teammates, not just for what she brings to the court but for her personality off the court, as well.
Although she will be sticking around as a volunteer assistant coach, it won't be the same for Fodor who won't be able to battle on the courts with her teammates next season. Her plan for the rest of this season is to soak in as much as she can, a goal she set at the beginning of the fall.
'I have been thinking about this since September,' Fodor said. 'Whatever I do, it's the last time that I will do it. It puts everything in a different angle because I appreciate every single moment that I spend, and I try to remember to use my time more wisely, being efficient during practice, being helpful, encouraging my teammates and helping them.'
Fodor, currently ranked 12th in the ITA singles rankings, transferred from Mississippi State, where she won SEC Freshman of the Year honors for the 2005 spring season. Fodor immediately made a big impact at Cal during the 2005 fall campaign, capturing the ITA Northwest Regional singles title, by defeating Stanford's Theresa Logar, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, to capture the crown.
Perhaps her biggest accomplishment at Cal came in the 2006 Pac-10 championships. Fodor won the Pac-10 singles title, knocking off then-10th ranked Amanda Fink from USC to win the championship, and was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Year.
Fodor, majoring in interdisciplinary studies, has made it clear that her teammates are what she will miss the most when this season is over. A close second would be the spirit of competition. Coming back as a coach next year will help her stay well connected with her teammates, but it won't satisfy her thirst to be out there competing.
'I will miss the competition and performing under pressure, but if I miss it, I can still play in tournaments,' Fodor said. 'I think it is helpful to help out with the team, and it will definitely be fun to hang out with the team for one more year. I don't know what I will do without competing because I have been doing it for the past ten years so it will be pretty weird. I think I just appreciate everything more, whatever activity.'
For one of Fodor's teammates, Susie Babos, she isn't only losing a teammate, but she's losing a partner to a doubles team which has been ranked in the top five in the country for this entire season. Last fall, Babos and Fodor racked up tournament titles in the Cal Invitational and the ITA Northwest Regional.
Babos also played a huge role in Fodor becoming a Bear. The two knew each other before Fodor arrived at Berkeley, and she asked Babos for advice about transferring during her time at Mississippi State. Babos, in her freshman year at Cal at the time, persuaded her fellow Hungarian to join her at Cal.
When she first arrived, it wasn't easy for Fodor. The workouts and an unfamiliar setting made things difficult, but she stuck out the early hardships.
'My first two weeks here were extremely hard,' Fodor said. 'It is a really big sacrifice, but it pays off. The first two weeks we started at 6:15 with weights in the morning and practice right after. It wasn't only mentally challenging to adapt to the new environment and the new school, but also physically as well. It was a really big challenge, but Hungarians usually don't quit.'
Regardless of having to step back and take more off-court role with the team next year, Fodor will never forget her time in Berkeley and has loved the diversity and family aspect that comes with being at Cal.
'The entire Cal spirit and the way that it works, it is just really unusual for me,' Fodor said. 'Now I don't know if I can go anywhere else and experience the same thing because people are so supportive, you really find a feeling of belonging here and you feel like you have a family. It is a spot that will always have a special place in my heart. The more I experience Cal, the more I love it, and it is still not over.'